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Author Topic: Non-Windows boot entries lost if I remove the drive  (Read 323 times)

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ki_2004Topic starter

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I have MSI B450M VDH mobo with 7A38vM6  UEFI Firmware. I have installed Windows 7 (UEFI Boot) on an M.2 NVMe SSD.

Apart from the Windows 7 boot entry created by the Windows 7 installer, I have also created a few more Boot entries that point to EFI Shell or other EFI files that reside on the EFI partition.
For some reasons, if I remove and reinstall the M.2 Drive then all non-windows boot entries are simply lost from the UEFI Firmware setup. I need to recreate them.
Is this expected behavior or a firmware bug?
Can this be prevented from happening, if yes how?

It also happened when I had an earlier firmware 7A38vM3 flashed. I generally remove the M.2 drive when I am trying out other OS like Linux or Windows 10 for some tryouts and then just to avoid creating any dual boot config etc.

Relevant settings in UEFI Firmware
CSM is disabled, boot mode is only UEFI
Windows 10 Mode is disabled.

Thanks.
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sunscreen

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Re: Non-Windows boot entries lost if I remove the drive
« Reply #1 on: 17-June-19, 01:42:43 »

When you install an OS on a disk using UEFI, it creates one small partition for the OS boot, one small EFI partition and at least one big partition for the OS.  Windows likes to also create a recovery partition usually at the end of the drive.  When you remove the drive you remove all of the partitions.
You can with multiple disks have a small disk for EFI and other partitions, then put the OS and optionally recovery on another disk.
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ki_2004Topic starter

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Re: Non-Windows boot entries lost if I remove the drive
« Reply #2 on: 17-June-19, 11:32:17 »

Thanks for the reply. I am not too sure how does it relate to removal of boot entry?

Does BIOS check for presence of the drive and then take a decision to keep or remove it? They why does it selectively retain Windows boot entry but deletes all other non-windows entries created by me?
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sunscreen

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Re: Non-Windows boot entries lost if I remove the drive
« Reply #3 on: 17-June-19, 19:01:57 »

If you install multiple OS, and they all write to the same EFI partition, the last one installed will usually boot and give you a list of OS.
When you update Windows, Windows overwrites everything and wipes out the other non Windows OS, leaving only Windows.
If you have recently updated Windows, that is likely what happened.
You can add a separate EFI partition for another OS or write to the same EFI partition, but them beware of Windows updates.
Another way is to put each OS on it's own disk and choose boot disk order each time you want to change from one OS to another OS.
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ki_2004Topic starter

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Re: Non-Windows boot entries lost if I remove the drive
« Reply #4 on: 23-June-19, 17:45:58 »

I have not installed multiple OS.
I have just created boot entries pointing to EFI Shell present on the EFI partition.
Why would Firmware remove this entry in the first place if I remove the entire drive for some time and reconnect later?
If so why does it retain Windows boot manager but clears everything else?

I hope my question is clear.
Thanks.
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sunscreen

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Re: Non-Windows boot entries lost if I remove the drive
« Reply #5 on: 26-June-19, 05:05:00 »

Quote
I have not installed multiple OS.
I have just created boot entries pointing to EFI Shell present on the EFI partition.
Why would Firmware remove this entry in the first place if I remove the entire drive for some time and reconnect later?
If so why does it retain Windows boot manager but clears everything else?

Firmware does not remove boot entries in EFI, only installing an OS will do that, and you say that you haven't added another OS.
If you only have one OS, why create additional boot entries to the EFI shell?


Quote
Apart from the Windows 7 boot entry created by the Windows 7 installer, I have also created a few more Boot entries that point to EFI Shell or other EFI files that reside on the EFI partition.
For some reasons, if I remove and reinstall the M.2 Drive then all non-windows boot entries are simply lost from the UEFI Firmware setup. I need to recreate them.
Is this expected behavior or a firmware bug?
Can this be prevented from happening, if yes how?

I'm not sure why you would want more boot entries to EFI shel or other EFI files, unless they boot another OS.  Most people only have one entry for each OS and most only have one OS.  EFI does allow additional OS's to be added, if desired.
I have no idea why entries in the EFI partition would be changed by removing the disk.  I have never seen that happen.  It may be that either the entries were not on the EFI partition that you thought held the entries or something else.  Can you please show a file tree of the layout of your disk with each of the partition and the files that you are referring to?
Any disk should be able to be removed and returned to a computer without having any partitions changed.  Something is unusual in what you describe.
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